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social media optimization is the process of increasing the awareness of a product, brand or event by using a number of social media outlets and communities to generate viral publicity.

Social media optimization includes using RSS feeds, social news and bookmarking sites, as well as social media sites and video and blogging sites. SMO is similar to SEO (search engine optimization) in that the goal is to drive traffic to your Web site.

Social Media sites have become the latest mantra as far as reputation management is concerned. More and more people are turning towards Social Media Optimization as a means of spreading favorable PR through online communities and social mediums.

How to Use Social Media Sites :
Social Media sites can be used in a number of ways

    Blogging – Blogging is one of the fastest ways to spread the word. So create and post relevant blogs and share with all the people you know.
    Submitting Articles – write and submit relevant and high quality articles using specific keywords to various websites.
    Forums – Forums are a more subtle form of advertising. Active participation in discussions and conversations will be a good way to disburse information and opinion about your company.
    An alternative to submitting articles is posting a video about your company on Youtube.

Some Relevant Social Media Sites
There are a lot of social media sites like Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon, Delicious, Reddit, Sphinn, Facebook, Linked In, YouTube, etc. Of these sites, Liked In, Stumbleupon and Twitter are by far the best.

With the modifications that have been included in the past 6 months, Liked In has become a lot more user-friendly and extremely favorable for socializing and making new contacts. Stumbleupon provides instant access to a wide range of subjects and categories while Twitter is one of the fastest ways of spreading your message and getting instant feedback.

What to Remember When Using Social Media Optimization Services:-
Using social media calls for a lot of tactic. If used for blatant advertising, you can be penalized by most sites. Keep these few points in mind to help you out:

    Do not use the most obvious SEO strategies like link building. They can be very annoying.
    Focus on quality rather than quantity on these sites. Your aim is to reach relevant audience, not all and sundry on this planet.
    Respect the other individual’s wishes. If he does not wish to post about you, so be it. Maintain a relationship with him, in the hope that he could introduce you to more like-minded people.

Social media optimization (SMO) is an entirely new concept dealing with all the methods that can be used to create publicity, referral traffic, and bookmarking of your website using social media tools.  Things like social book-marking, up-voting (or down-voting), content tagging, sharing, liking, RSS feeds and similar all constitute social media activity.  For the author, social media optimization is about optimizing your footprint on social networking websites.

Search engine optimization (SEO), on the other hand, is defined as an organic method to increase visitors to your website.  The main objective, being to rank a site as soon as possible through on-page and off-page strategies.

I would argue that social media optimization is part of off-page SEO.  Since SMO is about getting more traffic on the site through share your site content on social networking sites, off-page.  Social networks are driving an increasing amount of traffic to an increasing number of websites.  To a large degree, the performance of social referral traffic depends on two factors:

    1. How interesting and remarkable (enticing others to remark upon it) your content is; and

    2. How easily shareable you have made that content across a variety of networks.

Google, Bing and Scour have incorporated a value on social media activity into their search results.  Given the importance of the referral traffic, having a strategy for socializing your website and your content is increasingly important in a business’ overall optimization plan.  Helping people view content through widgets, apps and other social media entry points will accrue positive benefits for your brand and your social media optimization.

16 Rules For Social Media Optimization Revisited
Let’s revisit these 16 rules for social media optimization (SMO) and see which are still relevant.

Increase Your Linkability
    This is the first and most important priority for websites. Many sites are “static” – meaning they are rarely updated and used simply for a storefront. To optimize a site for social media, we need to increase the linkability of the content. Adding a blog is a great step, however there are many other ways such as creating white papers and thought pieces, or even simply aggregating content that exists elsewhere into a useful format.

Increasing your linkability is definitely still relevant, and adding a blog is still a great tactic. With the popular areas of the web acting more and more as aggregators rather than destinations the value of unique and useful content just keeps going up.

Will white papers and thought pieces necessarily increase linkability? All depends on the content, but consider the time it takes to create them plus the fact that they aren’t social. Many produce white papers and thought pieces, so this is a highly competitive landscape to expect decent returns without an audience to share it. It’s a perfectly fine tactic, but a publishing platform feels like step one. To merely create white papers without already having an audience to share them with means they may have a hard time getting links in the first place.

Check out what Darren Rowse recently created as a great example – he built a workbook that was made up of content already published on his blog, and yet his community still supported him in sharing it even though it’s material that is already public. He repurposed blog posts into a more formal/packaged format and is now selling the final product. This makes a lot of sense – publish the content bit by bit to attract links, traffic and subscribers as you go, then at the completion turn it into something polished.

As far as aggregators are concerned, so much of the web these days is made up of aggregation sometimes I wonder if enough is enough. Do we really need more? At this point my sense is that compelling content is in greater demand than new aggregators. Unless you can serve your niche is an incredibly useful or interesting way you may spend a lot of resources on this tactic with lukewarm returns.
2.Make Tagging and Bookmarking Easy

    Adding content features like quick buttons to “add to” are one way to make the process of tagging pages easier, but we go beyond this, making sure pages include a list of relevant tags, suggested notes for a link (which come up automatically when you go to tag a site), and making sure to tag our pages first on popular social bookmarking sites (including more than just the homepage).

Yes, and the ReTweet button is the button du jour as Twitter has fast become a hotspot for the sneezers of the web to share quick links. We have heard of some bloggers receiving a 100% increase in Tweets from adding this which gives a nod to the button approach being a direct reminder to visitors to share content.

With that said if your content is really that good people will always find a way to share it. Sharing buttons might help a little and act as social proofing if you get a lot of Diggs or Tweets, but realize people naturally share great content with or without prompts. Also prompts are not going to help uninteresting content get shared.

Reward Inbound Links
    Often used as a barometer for success of a blog (as well as a website), inbound links are paramount to rising in search results and overall rankings. To encourage more of them, we need to make it easy and provide clear rewards. From using Permalinks to recreating Similarly, listing recent linking blogs on your site provides the reward of visibility for those who link to you

I’m not convinced you need to provide “rewards” per se to people linking to you – if you earned a link through great content then you earned it. Reciprocate if their content is worth a link, but just because someone sends you an inbound link isn’t by itself a reason to take action or reward. This may be a strategy but I would be hesitant to classify it as rule, there are wildly successful web brands that don’t reward inbound links. As a blogger, I would be hesitant to say that things like automatic trackbacks are a reward.

[Lee: There are many ways to implement a quality link recognition process. Here are two examples that we use at TopRank:

1) The BIGLIST of Search Marketing Blogs suggests to other blogs that the only way to get on the list is to be noticed by TopRank. One effective way to get noticed is if other blogs link to BIGLIST. There are about 74k links to BIGLIST so far.

2) Each month and recently, each week, we post a roundup of media and blog coverage that TopRank gets on a newsroom blog post. Each time a mainstream publication or prominent website/blog mentions our brand or key staff, we include a link back to that source in our roundup.

Neither of these tactics involves any kind of outbound effort on our part. Other web sites decide to link to us on their own. We decide to link back when it makes sense for our purposes. If that "recognition" helps others who were already thinking about writing about our company or our blog to link to us, then so be it. However, using a WordPress widget to display recent inbound links or as Adam says above, using automatic trackbacks only invites manipulation by others.]

Help Your Content Travel
   Unlike much of SEO, SMO is not just about making changes to a site. When you have content that can be portable (such as PDFs, video files and audio files), submitting them to relevant sites will help your content travel further, and ultimately drive links back to your site.

If you are a social media power user or have a strong relationships/reputation, you can probably give it a nudge to help make it successful. With that said it’s not up to you if your content travels, it’s up to your web community.

    In a world of co-creation, it pays to be more open about letting others use your content (within reason). YouTube’s idea of providing code to cut and paste so you can embed videos from their site has fueled their growth. Syndicating your content through RSS also makes it easy for others to create mashups that can drive traffic or augment your content.

Yes, and in fact it’s interesting to note how traditional media entities such as the AP outright ignore the power of this by attempting to DRM to the news. Encourage reuse, remix and sharing for ideas to spread – at the end of the day the benefits still flow back to the originator of said content. People are going to reuse your content anyway, it’s the nature of the social web. Better to embrace it than fight it. Trent Reznor is a great case study of an artist who understands this philosophy.

Be a User Resource, Even if it Doesn’t Help You
    Add value to users, including outbound links to areas that could help them with their goals and purposes. Deployed corrected, even if you link to competitors you stand to gain as the communities first source of information finding. How will this help SMO? Folks will link to your social site and tag is as helpful or the ‘ultimate’ guide in that space. As this adds up, it will become more and more relevant in search engine results.

Yes, highly – I don’t have anything else to add as Jeremiah says this rather well.

[Lee: I like succinct and so I'll put it simply: Social media success depends on a "give value to get value" perspective.]

Reward Helpful and Valuable Users
  Often helpful or popular users will be influencers and champions within your social site, devise ways to elevate them by promoting their works on the homepage, or develop a rating system. Sometimes a quick email or note in private telling them you appreciate them can go a long way. Some folks have done that to me, and for communities I run, I do that as well. Only do if sincere. Perhaps this is not truly SMO, but it will help to keep the most valuable members of a community closer to your site.

This is not only relevant, you can go beyond a quick note and actually forge a relationship with those people by connecting with them in a deeper way than a mere “thank you.” Engage them in a dialogue and show your true passion for the subject at hand. If you’re really interested in what you’re creating this is such a natural. In other words: go beyond telling people you appreciate them, form a relationship with them.

   Join the conversation. Social Media is a two way street, lets not forget that. By conversing with the community you are creating awareness and prolonging your buzz. You are keeping it going and this often results in a snowball effect. Participating helps your message spread further and faster.

I don’t see any other way to be successful long-term here, this is a huge rule that is core to social media.

Know How to Target Your Audience
    If you don’t even know your target audience you are in trouble. I would love to have everyone using my product too, but you need to be realistic. There is always going to be a certain audience you can appeal to and others that you can’t. So know your appeal and who it is appealing to.

There is no other way to create content or marketing ideas compelling to a niche, you have to understand both the subject matter and the community living and breathing it. The most effective way to do this is to become a member of the community yourself. Anything else will always be second-best to those living/breathing the material.

Create ideas which resonate with your audience, and you can forge great relationships and build vital brand allies, such as EA sports connecting Tiger Woods directly with gamers (the reaction by the Digg community, one made up heavily of gamers, says it all – EA really connected with them). Misunderstanding your audience is dangerous and can put you down a negative path, such as when Motrin missed the mark of their target audience of moms.

Create Content
    There are certain kinds of content that just naturally spread socially. It does not matter what industry you are in and what boring products you sell, there is always some kind of content that can be created that will work. Whether it is creating widgets, making people laugh, or writing a white paper, it can be done. Know what type of content can work for you and create it.

This is synonymous with law 8 – being a participant of the social web requires you create content. With so few who actually create content and stick with it, this is a tremendous opportunity if you have the persistence and passion to go the distance.

We have more data here since the original rule was written which really backs this rule up. Consider that Technorati has indexed 133 million blogs since 2002, yet only around 76,000 blogs have a Technorati Authority of 50 or higher. In other words, less than .06% of the blogosphere garners all the attention, links and authority when stacked up against the rest. If you want attention, interest and links, you absolutely must be in that .06%. And to get there you have to consistently create useful and unique content, there is no escaping this.

Be Real
    The community does not reward fakers.

Yes – the social web only continues to get sharper at shining the light on those who are inauthentic.

[Lee: Do you really want your brand to become the next "Dell Hell", "Walmarting Across America" or other fake social persona that gets outed by the community? Of course not and that makes this "rule" timeless in its relevance.]

Don’t Forget Your Roots, Be Humble
    Sometimes it can be easy to get carried away being a BlogStar or industry talking head. Remember those who helped you along the way, and that respect will help all involved.
This is true in life and business as a whole, not just in social media.

  Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things, Stay Fresh
    Social Media is changing and morphing by the minute, keep up on new tools, products and challenges in your social sphere.

This is still and will continuously be relevant – the early adopter crowd is always interested in what’s fresh and interesting. Plus you never want to miss the competitive advantage of becoming proficient with something new ahead of others. Several of the 40 best brands on Twitter not only enjoy a following in the 6-figures for being unafraid to take the plunge, but brands like Comcast and Starbucks have been getting national PR because of it.

Develop a SMO Strategy
    Define your objectives and set goals. Be fully aware of what your desired outcome is as a result of performing these tactics. Reputation, sales, influence, credibility, charity, traffic/page views, etc.

Still relevant, there should exist clear strategy behind any and all marketing initiatives. Social media is no different. Starting with a social media roadmap will set yourself up for success.

[Lee: As this "rule" hits close to home, I would be remiss not to chime in. One of the most common blunders companies make with social media is to approach purely at a tactical level with no clear goals or strategy. Even an experiment has a hypothesis and if companies cannot commit to an overall strategic social media effort, they should at least make an effort to test in a structured way with goals, strategy, tactics and measurement in place.]

Choose Your SMO Tactics Wisely
    Choose your SMO tactics wisely. Be cognizant of what actions will influence the desired outcome with the most impact.

Definitely, what’s right for one brand or industry may not be for another. Everyone’s quick to choose the same tactics that are being used merely because they are “hot.” A reality check is always necessary – consider how will this tactic support your overall strategy. Social media marketing is about about ideas first and technology second.

 Make SMO part of your process and best practices
    Make SMO part of your process and best practices. As with good SEO, SMO tactics should become part of your organization’s best practices. Find ways to incorporate SMO tactics at the “template” level of document creation and as part of information distribution. Minor things like encouraging social bookmarks and rewarding incoming links as a standard practice across the organization can go a long way.


  1. SMO is related to search engine marketing. However, it differs in several ways. Primarily, the focus on driving traffic from sources other than search engines, although it improves search ranking, is also a benefit of successful SMO.

    Pinterest marketing